In the Spring of 2019, Reading was invited to participate in a Street Art Festival in Reutlingen, Germany (Reading’s sister city). In preparation for this festival, a local art project was planned on the theme of a pretzel, thinking of its German roots.
Local artists and art students were invited to paint their own version of a pretzel on a small piece of mural fabric. In May of 2019, over 80 pretzel paintings went to Germany with local artist Josh Brightbill, who installed them as part of the festival. The paintings were well received and even displayed in Reutlingen’s Town Hall to help kick off the art festival.
In the Fall of 2019, Susanne Immer, an art teacher in Reutlingen, contacted Reading and wanted to reciprocate on Reading’s art project by painting pretzels with her students. Immer was planning to bring the paintings to Reading this summer, but as with many plans…all was put on hold.
Local coordinator of The Berks Pretzel Collection, Michael L. Miller, reached out to the Berks Art Council, who secured a location in downtown Reading for the city’s own version of The Berks Pretzel Collection to be displayed.
Last fall, Suzanne Cody, of Muhlenberg Greene Architects, attended the Mural Stroll and Dean’s Way Dedication, presented by Berks Community Murals’ Mike Miller, a muralist and Wyomissing schools art teacher.
During Miller’s remarks, Dean was quoted to have said, “Public art humanizes the built environment”.
Cody returned to her job at the Architectural firm and shared Dean’s statement. It was agreed that if an opportunity to take part of a public art initiative presented itself, the staff would try to participate.
More than a year later, Miller invited Cody to take part in a larger-scale public art project, The Berks Pretzel Collection, from Reutlingen to Reading.
“Our Firm is celebrating 100 years of business in the county this year. We believe that our success is attributed to our deep ties and long-standing relationships in our community” said Cody.
”It is our mission to give back to the region who has helped us reach this very special milestone. Helping to enhance the built environment is something important to us, it’s something we think about every day. The opportunity to get creative and take part was a chance we couldn’t pass up.”
The group found room to display about 100 pretzels paintings, located at 645 Cherry Street.